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  Augh!! 05:40 PM -- Sat October 25, 2003  

So close!! You don't know how so close. I just got back from my Tony Hawk contest. I have many regrets:

  • I didn't know the rules in advance. In fact, I asked him the rules and he said "We don't know them yet, but probably a 2 minute run, high score, on any level you want".
  • It wasn't.
  • It was high score, 2 minute run, 2 players at once (which means split screen, which confused me! So tiny!), CAN ONLY BE TONY HAWK HIMSELF, on The College level, with no upgrades, and no editing your tricks - defaults all around.
  • Tony Hawk is a vert skater. Vert skaters are not fit to lick my wheels!
  • I don't know any of Tony Hawk's specials, which are the key to getting scores!
  • Ah, but here come the big regrets:
  • My practice run (you got 1min practice, then 2min real) was just slightly under the score that ended up winning the competition (350k-ish). But I got that score in only 1 minute!!
  • On my real run... I wasn't doing too hot, lowish score, but then when there was one second left on the clock, I knew I had to get going to win this thing (you can continue after the time runs out, as long as you maintain a combo; once your combo ends, the run is over), so I started The Ultimate Combo. It ruled like nobody in that store had ever seen. It probably lasted another 20 seconds. I got cheers! My run was the most exciting one of the day, the kids loved it!
  • But, at the end, I knew I had to land it, or it would count for nothing, so I headed out onto flat ground, and set the controller down to avoid my automatic instincts to keep pounding buttons. Unfortunately, I was still in a manual at that time, so I fell down. The amount of points I lost by failing that combo would've put my score way above the winning score for the competition. The combo itself was worth more than the total winning score!
  • All I had to do to win the contest was to hit the X button one more time. Once. No skill involved, just tap the X button.
  • Also, the guy running the contest swapped my score with my opponent's - luckily he had done well too, so instead of being counted as 190k points, I was counted as 140k.
In the end, I got 6th place, and the top 5 scorers got T-shirts. I would've been 4th place with my actual score, and of course let's not forget second place (maybe first, about that area) with my score from my practice run (in only 1 minute!! Dagnabbit!), or way out in first with my score if I had just hit that stupid button! BUT, to compensate for the horror of having to play as a stupid vert character, virtually without special moves (I got off a couple special grinds, but never figured out how I was doing it), on a crappy level, which rendered all my awesome practice meaningless, and also the suffering of looking really silly as the only elderly gent competing against a vast army of 20 or so 10-15 year olds, the universe smiled down upon me, and lo 5 shirts became 6. They had 6 shirts on hand, and I am now the semi-proud, sorta-dejected, owner of a Tony Hawk's Underground t-shirt! HOORAH!!

That's really great. I would've been way happier with the game, but I blew it with that stupid X button stunt, so it's my own thing. But the t-shirt is really cool, since I always need more of those for free. So I didn't win Tony Hawk 5... good news for you all, because it means I will actually spend time working on my next game!

Whatever that may be.

PS - you're in even more luck... they're having another contest next month, but it's an SSX contest. And I believe we've discussed in this very space just how horrifically unplayable the garbage that they call SSX is. I will be skipping that crapfest. It's sad... Tony Hawk is the only game (besides UT!) that I'd really enjoy competing in. And I'm good at it! I did so good!! I didn't do 6th place good, I did 1st place good! Oh well... let the kids enjoy their games. I'm a grown up or something.

That X button will haunt me forever.
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